Vietnamese man caught smuggling fake money from China

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Border guards in the northern province of Lang Son have arrested a Vietnamese man for allegedly smuggling counterfeit Vietnamese notes valued at a total of VND620 million (US$29,184) from China to Vietnam.

The anti-drug and smuggling team from the Tan Thanh Commune Border Guard Station caught Vu Ngoc Thang, 29, at the Tan Thanh border checkpoint carrying with him a bag of 3,100 fake VND200,0000-denomination polymer notes last Thursday evening, Dan Tri reported Monday.

The border guards said that all the notes were counterfeit.

This is one of the biggest counterfeit money smuggling cases detected in Lang Son, which borders China, according to Dan Tri.

Thang, a Hanoi resident, said he had worked as a porter in China since 2011.

He said a stranger paid him VND1 million to bring the bag to Vietnam on Thursday afternoon.

The fake money's intended destinations have yet to be revealed.

The State Bank of Vietnam started issuing notes made from polymer in 2003. The polymer notes are currently printed in denominations of  VND10,000, VND20,000, VND50,000, VND100,000, VND200,000 and VND500,000.

Fake notes of the three later denominations have been seized several times over the past two years, with most supplies coming from China.

Nearly a year ago, the People's Court in the northern city of Hai Phong handed down life sentence to Dang Van Thang, 39, and jail terms of 18-20 years to his four accomplices for smuggling counterfeit bills, including VND100,000 and VND200,000 notes, from China and circulating fake money in Vietnam. They were also fined VND125 million in total.

Thang and one of his accomplices, Tran Thi Mao, 62, was caught in Lang Son by the provincial police and their counterparts from Hai Phong and Ministry of Public Security, with more than VND280 million in fake notes on December 14, 2011.

Their arrest led to the subsequent arrest of the other three.

Between April and December 2011, the gang smuggling and circulated in Vietnam notes totaling nearly VND2 billion.

Under Vietnam's Penal Code, anyone who makes, possesses, transports and/or circulates fake bills will be sentenced to three to seven years in prison. In an "extremely severe" case, the terms will be extended to up to 20 years or even a life sentence.

The violators can be fined VND10-100 million, and/or have part or all of their properties confiscated.

The amount of fake money collected in the state treasury and banking system plummeted by 42.83 percent in the first half of this year from a year ago and 51.33 percent from the same period in 2011, the central bank said late last month, noting that the seized fake polymer notes could be identified easily with hands and eyes by checking security features.

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